Along with Turkey and Italy, Croatian hazelnuts are considered to be among the best and most sought-after in the world for chocolates, especially the indigenous Istrian long variety.
The hazelnut harvest is currently in progress in Croatia. Yields are about 30 percent lower this year due to frost and hail, but the quality is good.
Croatia has to import about 1,000 tons of shelled hazelnuts to meet its needs. This shows that there is a lot of space for planting new plantations and there are plans to plant 140 hectares of new plantations through EU funds. The new plantation should be completed by spring.
Prices are dictated by Italy and Turkey
The yield this year is a lot less than last year and the production costs per hectare, due to more frequent protection, are up to two and a half thousand kuna higher. Purchase prices of hazelnuts on stock exchanges are dictated by fruit powers such as Italy and Turkey. It is now about 5.5 euros per kilogram.
PP Orahovica has already started the purchase, Josip Tokić tells HRT. With subcontractors, he adds they have been cooperating for a long time and they know they will get a good price for their hazelnuts. They estimate that they will place a little more than 1000 tons on the market this year. And first-class raw hazelnuts at that.
Most will go to Ferrero, the famous Italian manufacturer of chocolate and confectionery products like Nutella and Ferrero rocher. Ferrero is the second biggest chocolate producer and confectionery company in the world.
Pavle Bijuklija from PP Orahovica says that the fact Croatia has to import large quantities of hazelnuts shows that there is a lot of room for new orchards.
Valentin Falamić from Rakitovica plans to raise 8 to 10 hectares of hazelnut plantations, with the help of EU money. As PP Orahovica is the largest nursery, it has already provided certified planting material of Istrian long hazelnuts. Everyone sees a future in this production.
Croatia exports hazelnuts, and imports expensive hazelnut spread
Everything Croatian producers produce they export. Raw, in their shell or hazelnuts processed for chocolates and desserts. Neither the purchasers nor the growers, most of whom are around Orahovica and Donji Miholjac, are happy about the fact that the domestic confectionery industry is importing again.
It would be far better if the hazelnut crop was processed immediately in Croatia. That is why PP Orahovica announced the construction of a factory in order to place the finished product on the market – roasted chopped hazelnuts and hazelnut flour and spread.
“Without EU support – it will be difficult. The problem is the tenders that have not been announced for large projects like this for a long time, so we are still in an absurd situation. Our raw material is processed in Italy, from which we then import expensive spreads and roasted hazelnuts for domestic confectioners. And all this makes the already shaky domestic production very expensive,” HRT reported.